August 1st, 2010 at 4:14am
As the only significance of the age 21 in Spain is that you no longer get the youth rate on your Madrid monthly metro pass (and, actually, that cutoff was just changed anyway), my 21st birthday was not filled with all that comprises a stereotypical American 21st birthday celebration (namely alcohol). So I never got a true 21st birthday, but I did get to spend it in an island in the Mediterranean, so, yeah, I think I win.
In the days leading up to my birthday (and the days following Connie’s birthday), my friends joined us for celebrations at a Hawaiian bar, an Irish pub, and Hard Rock Café, and then the entire city came out to celebrate my birthday the day before with carnivals, fireworks, dances, parades, and more. Okay, it was actually San Isidro, the city’s patron saint, that they were celebrating, but it was nicely timed.
Gran Vía, packed with people all celebrating my birthday, of course!
On my actual birthday, Connie and I caught a morning flight to Palma de Mallorca, on the island of Mallorca, off the eastern coast of Spain. Our hostel was about a block from the beach, and we had a private room with a balcony overlooking the ocean. We arrived and had a conversation with a nice guy from Missouri who had spent the past few months traveling Europe. I then found Cherry Coke, which isn’t regularly sold in Spain, in a nearby store, an excellent birthday present. We spent the day walking along the beach, stopping in shops along the way. We splurged on lunch (and by “splurged,” I mean we opted for something more than McDonalds or 40-cent baguettes), and then lay on the beach, where I fell asleep listening to beach music.
We sat on the beach watching the sunset and then had dinner at a slightly rundown kebab place, which wasn’t great but was still fun. We then returned to our hostel, where we sat on the balcony sipping sangría out of 3-foot straws and listening to beach music, and then we ended the night with ice cream from McDonalds. So, basically? Amaaazing birthday.
The next day, we rented bikes and rode along the beach, escaping the hordes of German tourists by exploring some areas farther from our hostel in the resort part of town, and enjoying the beauty of Mallorca. We spent more time relaxing (and sleeping) on the beach, and watched the sunset again.
Rocky area we biked to.
Our last day in Mallorca, we took a bus into town, where I unfortunately discovered that my camera’s memory card was missing. Taking photos is one of my favorite parts of traveling, but I still enjoyed wandering around the city (which felt a lot more Spanish than the resort area we were staying in, where far more German and English is spoken than Spanish). We returned to the area of our hostel, sat on the beach for a bit, and then flew back to Madrid.
Plaza Mayor in Palma de Mallorca, from Connie’s photos (so sad I didn’t have my own).
Mallorca was definitely more of a relaxed vacation than a sight-seeing trip, as most of my other travels were, and I had a fantastic time. Being in landlocked Madrid made me love the ocean even more than I did before, and Mallorca is beautiful. It’s going to be a hard birthday to beat.